Powered by RealTown Blogs

Manhattan Loft Guy

Aug. 3, 2006 - a secretary + a boss + a sketchy president + a maritime afterthought = Mad Sq / Times tours Mad Sq statues

I am thinking that Madison Square Park is the loft-neighborhood park with the greatest number of historic statues....
The NY Times a while back ran a feature about statues in parks that started with a Tompkins Square statue of a Congressman beloved by postal workers (!), then followed with three (the four) statues in Madison Square.
Mad Sq statues of 3 19th C giants, one short guy
The Mad Sq lineup includes William Seward at the corner of 23rd and Broadway. Seward is said to be by the Times “to be the first person born in New YorkState to be honored by the city with a monument. Seward earned it; he was secretary of state during the Civil War, surely one of the more stressful jobs in human history”, but the (apocryphal?) story I have heard is that this statue was built as an Abraham Lincoln but Seward’s head was added late. “They” say the large hands are the Lincoln give-away. NY Songlines agrees that a Lincoln cast was used, citing as evidence that Seward was really quite short.
Near Seward stands a Republican giant.
The undisputed king of the New York Republican political machine, Senator Conkling played a critical role in one of the most hotly contested presidential elections in history. In 1880, James A. Garfield -- a man who enjoyed not one-tenth of Conkling's fame -- was elected president and took with him to Washington as his vice president an even less well-known former customs collector for the Port of New York named Chester Alan Arthur. Were it not for Conkling, Arthur would be even more of a footnote in history than he is.
Conkling was a US senator and representative, but the NYC connection I am aware of is that he died in the Blizzard of 1888, trying to walk home. I have been told that he lived near Madison Square and died there (so close to home) but Forgotten-NY thinks he died in Union Square, but was denied a statue there because he did not rank with Lincoln, Washington and Lafayette – so he was relegated uptown to Madison Square.
‘sketchy’ Pres with good taste
As everyone knows  Arthur was the 21st President, following the death by bullet of James Garfield. His statue is near the playground at the corner near 26th and Madison. Arthur is the ‘sketchy’ President from Vermont, though he developed important New York City connections, having been Commissioner of Customs and Quartermaster General for New York during the Civil War.
He was in many ways a man of his times, and that included a tacit understanding that bribes and kickbacks were as important a part of politics as campaigns and conventions.
The Times follows with the sort of left-handed compliment that Republican Presidents would love to still get:
[On the one hand] Most people agree that though Arthur was one of our least important presidents, [but on the other hand] he did have great taste; among other things, he hired Louis Comfort Tiffany to help refurbish the interior of the White House.
… though he disappointed his patrons
That is quite a redeeming feature for a President, non? But they do give Arthur his due (unlike his contemporaries):
In 1883 he became a champion of the Pendleton Civil Service Reform Act, which guaranteed that government jobs were handed out based on merit and not political connections. Old friends of his, including Conkling, ostracized him, and he was not renominated in 1884.
Damn the oversight, there’s more
As an addendum, the Times noted that there is also a statue in Mad Sq to Civil War admiral David Farragut. I believe he is the “damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead” guy. He stands on a monumental pedestal along 26th Street in mid-block.
© Sandy Mattingly 2006
Comments (1) :: Post A Comment! :: Permanent Link
View more entries tagged with: None

Sandy Mattingly is Manhattan Loft Guy; now with The Corcoran Group (http://corcoran.com/ ; but see the disclaimer at the bottom of the page), he can be reached most easily at Sandy@ManhattanLoftGuy.com or 917.902.2491, and followed on Twitter @ManhattnLoftGuy (note "mis-spelling"). After 7+ years, the blog has moved. Links here on RealTown will work for the foreseeable future, but new posts (and all the old content) has migrated to ManhattanLoftGuy.com.

Recent Posts

ch ch ch changes September 30, 2013
diversion is more of a (small) rant about Manhattan real estate "penthouses"
50 West 29 Street build-out loft sale not as simple as it looks
28 Laight Street 1-day loft sale looks like a whisper listing
room or light? Tribeca or Chelsea? 2 lofts sold above ask at $2.645 million have different charms

RSS Blog Feed


apartment types
bubble talk
caution: no real estate content
change is a constant
economic "analysis"
general weird stuff
In the news (me)
loft features / amenities
loft features / kitchens
loft features / outdoor space
loft features / "space"
loft features / views
lofts in 'other' neighborhoods
Loft neighborhoods / Chelsea
Loft neighborhoods/ East Village
Loft neighborhoods / Flatiron
loft neighborhoods / NoHo
Loft neighborhoods / SoHo
Loft neighborhoods / Tribeca
loft neighborhoods / West 30s
lofts outside New York??
loft style
Manhattan real estate business
Market Data - aggregators
Market Data - reports
Market Trends
Marketing Manhattan apartments
New York, New York, New York
On The Market
open houses
pricing analysis
The Process - buying an apartment
Psychology of the market
public art in Manhattan
truth IS stranger...
what makes a loft a "loft"
internet and blogosphere
renovation opportunities + rewards
One Bed Wonders
new this week

Favorite Links

Manhattan Users Guide (be sure to search the archives)
The Gotham Center for NYC History
Matrix the Real Estate Economy
Hopstop (door-to-door subway instructions)
MTA subway site, including maps + schedules
NYC Dept of Education site
NY State Assn of Independent Schools (find private schools)
the local TriBeCa newspaper
"the weekly newspaper of lower Manhattan"
Brooklyn, but a great blog
Patell & Waterman's History of New York
The Soho Memory Project by a long-time resident
Tribeca Commons, an economist considers history, development + more
NYC Past photo tumblr
Manhattan Loft Guy Facebook page (use dropdown menu for Timeline)
the MLG Master List of loft sales, to Nov 2008
Tribeca Citizen
Malcolm Carter
Brick Underground, "vertical living demystified"
Daytonian In Manhattan a tourist's wonder with a local's eye
Urban Digs (numbers, graphs & charts, oh my)
True Gotham (very) occasional front-line dispatches
DNA Info, local news via the inter-tubes
The Real Deal, our industry rag
Coop and Condo (a lawyer writes with a funny pen)
Crain's New York real estate
Tom Fletcher’s NYC Architecture
Jeremiah’s Vanishing New York
Architakes, one guy's take
Scouting New York (location guy with camera)
Forgotten NY
Soho Alliance
Soho Journal
Chelsea Now (area news)
the essential. if ephemeral, New York
The Broadsheet Daily (especially for BPC, FiDi and Tribeca residents)
The Atlantic Cities


View my profile
Email Me
Blog Manager